Is the Easter Bunny Real? How to Talk to Your Kids About This Holiday Tradition

At some point, your kids may start asking questions—and the internet doesn't help preserve the magic.

<p>Westend61 / Getty Images</p>

Westend61 / Getty Images

Fact checked by Sarah Scott

It doesn’t quite rise to the level of a state secret like if Santa is real, but when it comes to the Easter bunny, many parents—myself included—still hope to keep the magic alive while kids are little. The problem is that with even small children being tech savvy, Google can ruin the fun with a simple search.

Try it now—the search engine doesn’t even try to help a parent out. The first result I got on a recent search blew it with a highlighted passage declaring that there is no actual Easter bunny. Thanks, Google!

If they aren’t online, we know kids talk. Older siblings or classmates may say things that get children wondering what to believe during their Easter egg hunt. Meanwhile, we parents are sweating trying to figure out what to say when a child springs the question of whether the Easter bunny is “just you” during dinner, in the bath, or en route to karate practice.

I’ve tried the tactic of just throwing tough questions back at my sons, who are 5 and younger. “Where do you think babies come from?” Or, “Do you think the Easter bunny is real?” Casually brushing off prodding that came earlier than expected—and then changing the subject—is another approach I find myself panickingly pulling out. “Well, I’ve heard the Easter bunny is real, but what do you want for dinner?”

Thankfully, Jenny Yip, PsyD, ABPP, a board-certified clinical psychologist and author of Hello Baby, Goodbye Intrusive Thoughts, shares advice with Parents on how to talk to kids about all of this. Her guidance is less about panic, and more about planning ahead—and simply focusing on our roles as parents instead of thinking fast to come up with an answer.

“A parent's job is to guide our children to be able to think for themselves,” she says. To be fair, on the subject of something like the Easter bunny, things get tricky, to be sure.

In this case, according to Dr. Yip, we shouldn’t dictate to our kids whether the fuzzy guy wielding Easter goodies is real or not, for the simple reason that we risk invalidating our child’s experience.

“If your child comes to you and says, ‘The Easter bunny isn't real, so I don't believe it,’ and you say, ‘Well, the Easter bunny is real,’ you've basically invalidated the child's experience and thought process,” she explains. “You want to guide your child to be able to think for themselves and believe what they choose to believe.”

When Friends Have Differing Beliefs About the Easter Bunny

What about when your child leaves the safe, accepting environment of your home and encounters a peer with a different point of view? Well, as Dr. Yip explains, the Easter bunny topic is the perfect testing ground for tolerance.

She says a good way to approach questions about someone else’s Easter bunny beliefs might be to tell your child, "Your friends can choose to believe whatever they choose to believe. It's not up to you to tell them what's real or not.” Or, “It's not up to you to tell someone else what they choose to believe is right or wrong.” You can also say: "We are our family, with our own family traditions and values."

It’s about building your child’s tolerance and acceptance, Dr. Yip says. “Your job is to help your child build strong thinking skills so they can think for themselves," she says.

As for that fuzzy fella who’s got a seemingly endless supply of jelly beans? “If your child has reasonable thinking skills, they'll come to their own conclusion.”

Just when that moment will come at our house, well, perhaps the bunny’s last official hop will be this year. Or in five years. But until that time comes, I’m going to enjoy preserving the magic of childhood, because it’s fleeting and in my humble opinion, fabulous.

So, we’ll be planning an Easter egg hunt, and the bunny will bring baskets teeming with goodies—but I’m sneaking all the candy with peanut butter and chocolate for me. Shh!

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Read the original article on Parents.